I've had braces now for 5 weeks....mine are self-litigating...so no rubber band ligatures...for me it was jaw issues that persuaded me...although cosmetically it's appealing as well...my upper teeth have too much room, creating a gap between the front teeth, my upper right canine was totally backwards...180 degrees reversed, and my bottom left front tooth was 80 degrees rotated....I had the canine tooth pulled and then replanted the same day I got the braces put on, now the gap in the front top is gone...and I can notice some change in the bottoms. I had jaw alignment problems before....which hasn't changed yet, but it will. Don't get me wrong....braces do hurt....the first week was rough, couldn't chew well...then soon it felt that my teeth were loose....but plenty of warm-saltwater rinses helps for cheeck irritation...as does the orthodonitc wax. I don't have dental insurance, but it's definately worth it.
At the age of 29 I was having really bad TMJ problems (daily migraines) even though my teeth were pretty and fairly straight. After getting braces because my bite was off, the pain stopped within 2 months! Braces are not that big of a deal and aren't going to prohibit you from doing anything (except maybe eating caramel apples). :)
good alignment is important for all the reasons you mentioned. poor alignment gets worse ove time and causes decay, gum disease, loosening of teeth, chewing problems, TMJ dysfunction, decay (inbetwween teeth that are not contacting each other properly and where you can't brush), sthetic problems etc etc. IF you have the means, and a good orthodontist tells you it would be a benefit, then you should do it. they are not that uncomfortable these days and you may even be a candidate for Invisalign if your alignment is not that bad. besides. it's a short period of time considering how long people live. you'll be happy when it is done.
This is a very difficult question to answer. I do not think that everyone who has misaligned teeth are candidates for ortho treatment.You would be the judge if you are having difficulty in eating or have a speech impediment. I don't think everyone who has a crooked tooth needs ortho.I can not comment on your case without seeing you.